|“||I have no soul. But I made you a promise on my mother's doorstep, and she was sacred to me. I was a child then. I am not now. I cannot. I will not. I owe him a debt from many years ago.||”|
Born to Guadalupe Santiago and an unknown man, Raphael Santiago, the eldest child in the family, had several younger brothers and lived his early life in Mexico before the family moved to New York. He rarely saw his father, who had hit him once in Zacatecas, an incident that was never repeated.
In 1953, when rumors of a vampire in their neighborhood became supported by strange disappearances of their children, Raphael and a group of older boys formed a vampire-hunting gang, intent on proving that they were no longer children and were capable of protecting their neighborhood from the vampire. They managed to track it down to its lair, the residence of several other local vampires, the Hotel Dumort. Guadalupe, though worried, was doubtful that the children would do anything rash and gave Raphael a gold cross to protect him from the monster she believes to be damned.
One evening, they raided the hotel in an attempt to catch and kill the vampire. At the age of fifteen, sometime before he turned sixteen, Raphael was Turned by the vampire, named Louis Karnstein, who hoped that he would help him with his friends. Instead, the newly-Turned Raphael killed Louis and, in a frenzy upon being "reborn", went on to feed on his remaining friends, draining them of blood, accidentally killing them.
Raphael was found by Magnus Bane, who was hired by his mother to save him. Beyond saving from vampirism, Raphael hoped to kill himself after draining his friends of blood. Magnus stopped him and brought him back to his apartment. There, with Magnus' encouragement and guidance, he slowly found the resolve to recover. Wearing the cross his mother gave him, Raphael tortured himself by walking on hallowed ground in an attempt to regain some semblance of his humanity. Eventually, he reached a satisfactory state of normalcy and returned to his family.
Rise to power
Soon, Raphael joined the New York vampire clan, then under Camille Belcourt's leadership. On his second day of living in Hotel Dumort, Raphael asked for better security at the hotel, which Camille laughed at him for. However, they were soon attacked by a rogue band of Werewolves, and Raphael’s security measures were put in place right after. Guards were posted at the hotel, and Raphael took the first watch on the first night, after showing Lily Chen plans of the hotel, every weak point of it, and his plans for the hotel's defenses. He always took his turn guarding the hotel, even after he quickly rose through the ranks and became Camille's second-in-command, although she demoted him from time to time, to annoy him. It was later revealed that Raphael hired the werewolves to attack the hotel so that the clan would implement the safety precautions he wanted.
When the clan became addicted to feeding off mundanes on cocaine, Raphael tried to talk them out of it. Camille, wanting her inner circle to participate, tried to get Raphael addicted to it as well. After a disagreement with Camille, he left and returned shortly after, when Camille and Magnus broke vials of her clan's grave soil, including his, to call on them. Raphael snuck into a basement window of the Hotel Dumort and rejoined his recovering clan, hiding while he tended to the sick.
When Camille again succumbed to feeding on and killing humans in 2006, Raphael found out about it and threatened to report her to the Clave and tell them of her Accord-breaking acts if she did not stop or leave—though he was merely bluffing, Camille begrudgingly agreed and fled. Being second-in-command, as well as a trusted and respected member within the clan, Raphael became the acting leader, telling others that Camille had only gone on an indefinite trip.
In the year 2000, Raphael heard word that some yin fen was being smuggled into New York. Raphael went to the local Shadow Market to meet with Brother Zachariah and request his help in stopping the shipment. Brother Zachariah agreed though he required they go by the Institute first, which had been what Raphael was avoiding as he did not trust the former Circle members who were now in charge.
At the meeting, Raphael allowed Brother Zachariah to do the majority of the talking and it was learned the yin fen was being smuggled on the ship that was bringing Jonathan Wayland to Maryse and Robert Lightwood. While Raphael stood off to the side, he was approached by Alec, who began attempting to flirt with him, and Isabelle Lightwood. Maryse was horrified at first that he was talking to their children and Raphael took that as proof of their prejudice and unwillingness to help. Robert, however, immediately began making plans for their attack. They rowed a boat out of New Jersey and infiltrated the ship. Once onboard there ended up being more werewolves than expected and a fight ensued. Though they won the battle and destroyed the yin fen, Raphael was injured protecting Lily from a death blow.
Raphael met Jonathan (then going by the name Jace) again a few years later when he and Clary went to Hotel Dumort to rescue Simon Lewis, a mundane who had accidentally been turned into a rat and brought to the hotel by one of his vampires. Raphael met them outside, masquerading as an ordinary mundane who wanted to raid the vampire lair to avenge his brother's death. Jace, however, suspected that he was a vampire when he noticed the burn of a cross on his throat and the bite scar on his neck; Jace did not voice his suspicion and allowed Raphael to lead the way into the hotel.
Raphael screamed, signaling the other vampires to him, and briefly left the pair in the lobby. When he reappeared, Jace had already confirmed his suspicions, having seen that he left no footprints, and threw a seraph blade at him, just narrowly missing his heart. By then, however, they were surrounded by the vampires of the Dumort from above. As protection, and upon Clary's suggestion, Raphael was held hostage by Jace as a bargaining chip to get Simon.
The other vampires did not want to give Clary the rat unless Jace swore on the Angel, something he was unwilling to do since it binds him. Before a bargain could be completed however, a pack of werewolves, led by Luke Garroway, broke into the hotel to save Clary. Raphael refused to give her back, declaring that she was their property because she was on their territory. During the battle, Raphael was bitten by Simon to save Jace, thus ingesting some of his blood, turning Simon into a fledgling, and later a vampire, making Raphael his sire.
Raphael carried Simon's half-dead body to the front of the New York Institute. He told Clary and Jace that Simon had gone back to the Hotel Dumort to ask if he was becoming a vampire, and was bitten when he had entered vampire territory, though he does not specify who bit him. He is, however, somehow Simon's sire as it was his blood that Simon had ingested in City of Bones. When Simon died, he helped them bury him so that he could rise from the dead. He then saved Clary from the new-born Simon who tried to attack her for fresh blood.
The Mortal War
Raphael Santiago offered the help of the Children of the Night to the Clave in exchange for Simon's life. The Clave refused, but Simon went on his own free will to guarantee the help of the vampires in the final battle, by allowing Clary to draw the Mark of Cain on his forehead. After the Mortal War, Raphael was present at the victory party in Alicante.
He also later attended the Downworld celebratory party hosted by Malcolm Fade in Venice. For the majority of the party, Raphael tried to hide by the wall of a room on the upper floors; he moved when people came near him, pretended not to know their language if the spoke to them, and was absorbed in texting his late friend Ragnor Fell. He ended up conversing a bit with Alec Lightwood until Lily Chen pulled him away to go help Elliott.
As the mansion began to fall down, Raphael attempted to get his clan members to vacate and refused to help Alec as he tried to save people; however, he ended up assisting Alec with some unruly werewolves, though he claimed it was accidental. When Mori Shu's body was found, supposedly killed by vampires, Raphael commanded Lily and Elliott to leave. Alec ended up running after them and asking for Raphael's help in Magnus's situation with the Crimson Hand. Raphael agreed to look into it a bit for him and gave him his number. Later when Alec called for information, Raphael was able to confirm Alec's suspicions that Shinyun Jung was the cult leader.
Raphael appeared briefly when Simon called him to ask for a place to stay after his mother kicked him out of the house after she discovered that he is a vampire. Raphael told Simon that he could not stay at the Hotel Dumort because he still won't accept his vampirism; as he was about to leave, Simon dropped a hint about Camille Belcourt and how he wasn't going to tell Raphael about her; however, Raphael sarcastically says "I suppose you are also going to throw away the birthday present you got me" and leaves.
After that, several days later, Maryse Lightwood and Lucian Graymark called Raphael to a meeting discussing matters of Camille Belcourt. The latter accused Raphael of drinking human blood and killing them, thus "breaking the Covenant Law". Raphael, however, denies it, and apparently he was telling the truth as he turned the tables on Camille, claiming that it was Camille who broke the Law. Raphael had approached her about the matter and told her to leave the city, which she did for a year, then returned with two human subjugates, Walker and Archer. The meeting ends with Lucian requesting Raphael's help in catching Camille, but to do so Raphael has to work alongside Simon Lewis, whom he does not like.
Raphael calls Simon and requests that the latter protect him from Camille. Simon, however, refuses. Raphael informs Simon that there is a darkness coming, and, should Simon survive it, Raphael will be at the front of a line of people waiting to kill him.
In a gathering of the Council representatives held by the faeries, he along with Luke, Jocelyn, and Magnus get kidnapped by the Endarkened under the orders of Sebastian Morgenstern with the help of the faeries who were secretly allied with him. They were imprisoned in Edom, where Sebastian asked Raphael to get the Night Children associated with the Endarkened against Shadowhunters to which he agrees. To show his alliance, he was asked to kill Magnus. Having never forgotten that Magnus saved his life over fifty years before and that he swore to pay him back someday, he refused to kill Magnus, angering Sebastian and causing him to immediately stab Raphael in the heart.
As a way to honor his memory after his death, the vampires of the New York clan decided to contribute to the well-being of the East Harlem, which was not only the home of the Hotel Dumort but is also close to the neighborhood where Raphael grew up. This was a fruitful endeavor because the residents soon took note of "the presence of nocturnal good Samaritans" who picked up trash, shoveled snow, and ensured their safety at night. Magnus also named his second son after him.
Personality and traits
|“||He had never felt entirely comfortable around Raphael. Raphael seemed to him like Loki or some other trickster God, sometimes working for good and sometimes for evil, but always in his own interests.||”|
Raphael was sly and also rather conceited, arrogant, and condescending. He basically enjoyed having power and intimidating others and was generally discriminating towards anyone who wasn't a vampire. Despite this, he was a man of his word who had a sense of honor, gratitude, and respect, in regards to other people and their actions. He refused to kill Magnus because of the debt he owed the warlock and ultimately paid with his life; albeit, up until being ordered to kill Magnus, he was willing to side with Sebastian, hinting that his unwillingness to join him wasn't out of "the greater good" but of a blood debt. He also seemed to be prone to envy, as he hated Simon for his ability to walk in the sunlight.
A Mexican immigrant, the majority of his speech was Spanish—at least, when he was fooling mundanes. His speech patterns tended to slur depending on whom he was speaking to, but he always managed to retain a formal, almost archaic, lilt.
Stuck with the appearance of his fifteen-year-old self, Raphael looked young, and was often described as having the face of an angel—as he had inherited the heart-shaped profile of his mother—though sometimes, his wisdom showed the weight of his years. He had dark black, curly hair, very thin eyebrows, and honey-colored skin. He was slightly built and was about six inches shorter than Jace. Raphael also had a small scar on his chest from where his mother's crucifix used to hang and burn on his chest.
Skills and abilities
- Demon energy: Being a vampire, Raphael was capable of imbuing demon energy into inanimate objects to make them work; though forbidden by the Accords, Raphael and other vampires had motorcycles ran by demon energy.
- Fascination: Also known as encanto, Raphael had the vampire ability to mesmerize or hypnotize mundanes.
- Superhuman physiology: Demon energy provides vampires with superhuman strength, and speed, ironic of their thin and pale appearance. This energy also provides them with heightened senses, like the ability to see in complete darkness, smell blood from a few yards away, and hear whispers from some distance away with perfect clarity.
- Shape-shifting: Apparently, as a vampire, Raphael had the ability to shape-shift and turn into a rat, bat, or dust, among others.
- Immortality: As a vampire, Raphael was immortal. However, this did not make him invincible, and made him prone to death by sunlight and fire, among others.
- Raphael was asexual and aromantic.
- Raphael used to put on the crucifix necklace his mother gave him and visit the graves of his family at the Trinity Church Cemetery every week.
- An unnamed Vampire Lieutenant was included in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones film in place of Raphael, who was to be introduced in the sequel before it got canceled.
- Official Clave Files in the City of Bones 10th Anniversary Edition
- Saving Raphael Santiago
- The Land I Lost
- The Fall of the Hotel Dumort
- City of Bones
- City of Fallen Angels
- Son of the Dawn
- City of Ashes
- City of Glass
- The Red Scrolls of Magic
- City of Lost Souls
- City of Heavenly Fire
- An Illustrated History of Notable Shadowhunters & Denizens of Downworld
- Lady Midnight
- Lord of Shadows
- "Raphael was asexual." Cassandra Clare on Twitter
- "I should have also said aromantic. But it's what I think—it's not explicit on the page." Cassandra Clare on Twitter
- "I thought of Raphael as asexual. (It's not mentioned in the books, so just my headcanon.)" Cassandra Clare on Twitter
- Born to Endless Night
- "Raphael won't be in this movie but they hope to introduce him in City of Ashes..." Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- "He's in the screenplay." Cassandra Clare on Twitter